Reflections from the Dean

News & Events

One Oath. One State. #HomeMeansNevada

My usual column below was written before the tragic events in Las Vegas on Sunday, October 1. However important our upcoming accreditation visit may be, it seems trivial compared to the trauma and sadness in Las Vegas.

Last Sunday's event is incomprehensible. As Nevadans, we are all affected. Several of our medical students have friends who were injured, although thankfully all of our students, faculty and staff are safe. Our colleagues in Las Vegas are heroes for the lifesaving measures they provided in the face of their own exhaustion. The stories about the extraordinary medical care provided by the staff members of our former hospital partners, both University Medical Center and Sunrise Medical Center, are inspiring.

Events like this remind all of us in health care why we have chosen medicine as our life's calling-to be of service to our friends, neighbors, colleagues, and any stranger in need. To our colleagues who are saving lives, restoring health, and providing solace and comfort, we thank you for your commitment, and for serving as role models to all of us.

September was a busy month for UNR Med (aren't they all?). Students complete their first exams, applications for next year's class are flooding in, and the Student Outreach Clinic schedule is filling up. We also held our 2017 State of the School Address: this year in a new venue, with a new format and a new video to kick off the coming year.

If you haven't yet seen the video, it highlights our students, faculty, staff, community partners and beautiful surroundings, and ends with three specific conclusions, "Our future is bright. Our future is alive. Our future is now."

These few words accurately capture the current state of UNR Med. While the State of the School Address provided us with an opportunity to pause, assess and acknowledge our significant accomplishments over the 2016-2017 academic and fiscal year, the emphasis is on our future, and our future is indeed bright.

A critical mechanism that keeps our focus on the future is our upcoming Liaison Committee on Medical Education Accreditation (LCME) full site visit, October 22-25.

As Dr. Tim Baker succinctly noted, "Nothing is more important than accreditation." Accreditation qualifies UNR Med to receive federal grants. Additionally, many of the best residency programs require their applicants to come from an LCME-accredited medical school, as do most state boards of licensure. However, just as our success as a school is more than the facts and figures on a page, the LCME accreditation process is more than examining a collection of data, site tours and interviews.

Over the past year, Executive Associate Dean Melissa Piasecki, M.D., Accreditation Coordinator Krystle Oates, Ph.D., and Director of the Office of Continuous Institutional Assessment Amy Smith, Ph.D., have lead a critical, comprehensive self-study of UNR Med. Specifically, they have worked with students, faculty and community partners to examine what the LCME calls five essential aspects for accreditation:

  1. institutional setting
  2. education program for the M.D. degree
  3. medical students
  4. faculty and
  5. educational resources.

The database that measures each of these aspects and provides an assessment of whether UNR Med is meeting guidelines or has room for improvement is a critical outcome for both the LCME process and our long-term strategic planning.

The database is important, and how we got there is equally so; the collaborative effort that has gone into conducting the self-study and how we can use it as an institution to make the right decisions that lead to success. In the coming weeks-before, during and after the October 22–25 full site visit-we will use the data collected to make decisions that will lead our medical school to continued excellence.

By nature, the LCME self-study is a team effort. Students have a central role in the process as they serve on subcommittees, meet with the accreditation team, lead tours and participate in interviews. Faculty, staff and community partners, who might not otherwise work together, form collectives to analyze information, and we reaffirm our commitments to each other as colleagues, to our students as learners and to our community as healthcare leaders. The collaboration forged throughout the LCME process will continue to benefit UNR Med as part of our culture.

Although crucial to our mission and vision as a medical school, the LCME self-study and site visit also have value as a way for us to measure, understand and focus on our strengths, energy and innovation. Thanks to the work and guidance from Drs. Piasecki, Oates, Smith and so many others, we are able to demonstrate what makes UNR Med an outstanding and unique medical institution with nearly 50 years of history and a bright future of endless possibilities.

For more information on the upcoming visit and what to expect while our LCME site visitors are here, please visit


Julie Ardito, APR
Senior Director, Advancement and Engagement
Office: (775) 784-6006

Tessa Bowen
Communications Manager, Advancement and Engagement
Office: (775) 682-9254

The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine is a community-based, research-intensive medical school with a statewide vision that has served Nevada for nearly 50 years as its first public medical school. UNR Med’s vision is a healthy Nevada, supported by our mission: establishing excellence in medical education, medical care, research and community engagement, while committing to a culture of respect, compassion and inclusion. Through targeted growth and investment in research, clinical services, education and outreach, UNR Med is a resource for improving healthcare regionally and across the country. For more information, visit: